Valley’s German twin town visits
IN this week’s Memory Lane, we take a look back at the twinning of Rossendale with Bocholt, a town in Germany.
Our regular Memory Lane contributor, Peter Fisher, has sent us a selection of pictures showing the history and development of the relationship.
In May 1952, a group of young people from Bocholt arrived in Bacup, Haslingden and Rawtenstall, as part of a visit arranged by George Tomlinson, the then superintendant of Alder Grange Youth Club.
On this date, the official link between the two areas was made.
In 1952, there was still a rationing programme in place in Britain, while the people of Bocholt were working to rebuild the town after the damage it suffered at the end of the Second World War.
The young people travelled by train for two days to reach the Valley, crossing the channel by ferry and then boarding a coach for the remainder of the journey.
The visit was hailed a success, and a return visit from Rossendale to Bocholt was arranged.
There are now hundreds of twinning links between England and Germany. The first visit to Rossendale included Berhard Demming, who then became the mayor of Bocholt. In 2002 he came back to Rossendale to meet friends he had made over the years, on the many visits he made to the Valley.
That first visit also led to a Rossendale-Bocholt marriage between Joe Antrobus and Christel Querbach.
In 1958, exchange visits were held for the mayors and officials of both towns. However, over the years, it has mainly been ordinary people making the visits and strengthening the link between the two towns.
In the past 50 years, more than 50 groups from the Valley have made contact with similar groups in Bocholt.
In 1973, the football team at the White Horse pup twinned with a Bocholt pub, which led to the creation of The Friends of KAB Ewaldi.
In 1982, Haslingden High School made it first contact with a school in Bocholt, called Marien Gymnasium.
Five years later, in 1987, Sawforth majorettes made their first contact, and many more organisations have forged connections, including the fire service, swimming clubs, Scouts, Rossendale Male Voice and Ladies Choirs, brass bands and the Coconutters.
This week’s first picture (top left) shows a British Youth Group in 1953.
Top right is a shot from summer 1952 in Rawtenstall. Bernhard Demming from Bocholt (third from right) can be seen looking over the shoulder of George Tomlinson, who started the partnership between Rossendale and Bocholt.
Below this is a photograph of a group of English and German youngsters, taken early on in the twinning.
Underneath that is a shot of a group of people from both towns during a visit to Bocholt.
The image at the bottom (right) shows the mayors of Haslingen, Rawtenstall and Bacup during a visit to Bocholt in March 195, with the Bocholt mayor and town director.
Our final picture of the week (above) shows a meal shared by people involved in the twinning partnership.
Have you been involved in any twinning projects in Rossendale?
Do you have memories of visits - to Bocholt or other European towns?
If these pictures bring back memories, please get in touch.
Many thanks to all our nostalgia contributors.